Sun, Nov 24, 2013 at 11:48 PM
Profanity, slurs in the NFL: Has this part of game gone too far?
There's plenty of reason for concern surrounding an NFL game official being suspended after a profane rant against a player. But Friday's announcement might be a symptom of something deeper.
NFL officials are fighting back after the league's one-game ban of Roy Ellison, an umpire in Week 11's Philadelphia Eagles-Washington Redskins game. Ellison was punished for comments directed at the Redskins' Trent Williams.
Redskins tackle Trent Williams (AP Photo)n
It was Williams, an offensive tackle, who decried Ellison's comments after the game.n
In a response to the league decision, the executive director of the NFL officials' union alleged a double standard in which players and coaches pour out profanity and racial slurs during games, some directed at game officials.
The situation "is completely contrary to the atmosphere of sportsmanship and respect," union head Jim Quirk said.
"If I said something of that nature to him, it's at least a flag, or I'm thrown out of the game," Williams said. "I'd never say anything like that to a referee." — Trent Williams
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"The league insists that officials are held to a 'high standard' but others involved in the game are held to no standard," Quirk said, according to The Associated Press. "Apparently the NFL accepts and condones a culture where players, coaches and teams can use racial slurs and profanity toward each other and at officials.
"Music played in locker rooms and in the stadiums before games include racial slurs (including the "N'' word) and references to sexual violence with impunity. These types of cheap slurs and racial banter on the field often lead to angry and emotional responses which can result in fighting and injury. This is completely contrary to the atmosphere of sportsmanship and respect the league says should exist in the game."
Quirk's comments point to a part of pro football that is repugnant. Remember, NFL action against Ellison comes on the heels of the Miami Dolphins' mess involving Richie Incognito's alleged slurs and bullying of Jonathan Martin.
The officials' union announced it will file a grievance regarding Ellison's suspension.n
Williams said he was called vulgar names — although not the N-word — by Ellison and did nothing to provoke it. A replay from the second quarter shows Ellison gesturing at Williams while walking backward just before a snap, with Williams, quarterback Robert Griffin III and tight end Niles Paul turning to look back at the umpire.
Redskins coach Mike Shanahan was among those who supported Williams, saying: "You just can't use that type of language to get your point across."
Now the question becomes: Should the NFL practice what it preaches?n